A very eventful weekend with my new family! Went over to Heidi’s parents for dinner on Sunday night and Heidi’s nephew (Jonte- pronounced Jaunty) and her boyfriends’ son (Lochie- pronounced Locky) both brought their bikes. Biking is huge on this island, and starts at a young age- be it pedal or motor. They build ramps for themselves and pedal all around the house and orchards. They’re nice boys, if a little rough and loud, and Lochie is only over ever other weekend to visit his father. Jonte in particular and I have bonded, and he has been a wealth of knowledge for me already. He taught me the difference between corn and maize plants (although they still look identical to me) and we went for a ride around the orchard together on our bikes. He was much more agile, and I ended up getting bumped and whacked on my helmet with tons of kiwis as we rode through, but still a fun evening. (Lochie on the left, Jonte on the right)
The next day Heidi took me and Jonte for a trip to a local landmark on the way to dropping him back off at his house in Waipawa. (It’s pronounced Why-powa and when they were talking about it with their accents for two days I thought he lived in a horribly racist place called White Power…)
The landmark is called Te Mata and has a cool legend behind it. It’s a giant laying down (head on the right to legs on the left, can you see it?)
It’s a legend about a giant who feel in love with a different Maori tribe’s cheif’s daughter and put through a series of tasks as a result. The last task was to take a bite out of a mountain (which has a gap in it right above his head) on which he choked and died and lay where he fell.
We drove out to the peak on what was a beautiful day! While we were up at the peak, we saw people jump in their hangliders off the cliff about three feet in front of us! It was nerve wracking just to watch, so I can’t imagine being brave enough to run full speed off of a cliff— although I can’t imagine the view once you’re up there.
On the way back, we stopped off for ice cream at what has to be the prettiest ice cream parlor I’ve ever been in!
and then took Jonte on to Waipawa. He was thrilled to show me his chickens and eggs, and was appalled when I told him in Seattle that when I get chickens I can only have three-he has twelve. Jonte is 7 years old and sells his eggs for NZ$5 for a dozen and NZ$3 for half a dozen. Heidi and I bought the half a dozen they had at the time.
Blair (Heidi’s boyfriend) went off to work for a few days this morning. He works for the council (local government) where he tracks, traps and counts possums which are a local varmit here. They watch the populations to make sure they don’t get out of control apparently. He packs up a lot of gear depending on far out he’s being sent.
So today Heidi and I went off to Napier, to pick up a few items and take a look around for me. It suffered a major earthquake in 1931 so when all of the buildings were rebuilt it was in the popular art deco style of the day. As a result this little ocean front town is filled with the most amazing art deco buildings.
Back home it’s time to get ready for my first day of school tomorrow! I meet my associate teacher before school and then the students and just jump right in! I’m sure it will be great once I get going, but I’m very nervous.